Fungus are widely distributed in the environment. They are one of the common causes of infectious diseases in reptiles. These diseases can affect any part of the reptile’s body, including its skin, respiratory tract, and digestive system. Most fungal diseases are life-threatening to the reptile, except for fungal infections affecting the reptile’s skin. However, if the infection is not treated promptly or appropriately, the infection may spread to the reptile’s bloodstream. In this case, the fungi will be more difficult to eradicate and will be fatal to the animal.
Symptoms Of Fungal Infections in Reptiles
Skin infections that appear on reptiles’ hide are known by different names depending on the location of the infection and its associated characteristics. Below are the common symptoms accompanying these infections.
- Abscesses or cavities containing pus are found under the skin of the reptile.
- Blister disease is characterized by fluid-filled pockets on the skin.
- Scale rot is present when the blisters rupture or red/raw sores (these sores are slow to heal), develop on the reptiles’ skin.
- Turtles and tortoises affected with shell rot will have shells that are soft or have pitted areas that may lift away from the rest of the shell and reveal the bony structures underneath.
- Septicemic cutaneous ulcerative disease (SCUD), a form of shell rot that spreads into the bloodstream and internal organs.
Other more common signs of a fungal infection in reptiles weight loss and a lack of appetite. Other symptoms are dependent on the area of infection. For instance, if the reptile has an infection in the respiratory system, the reptile will manifest difficulty in breathing. If it is an infection in the stomach or intestines, the reptile will develop internal sores that usually heal slowly.
Causes Of Fungal Infections In Reptiles
Reptiles may be stricken by fungal infections as a result of the following:
- Extremely high humidity
- Low environmental temperature
- Low immunity due to an existing disease
- Poor nutrition
- Stress (this can also include overcrowding within the enclosure, as well as improper enclosure design)
- Inappropriate breeding practices
- Lack of proper sanitation of the reptile’s environment
- Previous surgery
- Injury or trauma in the shell or skin
A veterinarian will diagnose a fungal infection on the skin of your pet by physical examination. He may also require information relevant to the health history of the animal. Finally, the vet may also require a blood test to determine the level of infection that the animal already has. These will help him determine the treatment plan that will be provided for the reptile.
Mild infections on the fungal skin infection on reptiles are normally treated with topical antibiotic ointment. The infected part of the skin is first gently cleansed using some diluted povidone-iodine or a chlorhexidine solution. The antibiotic ointment is then applied on the affected part twice daily.
There are times when the fungal infection is accompanied by a septic wound. However, the reptile does not seem to be bothered by the condition at all. In this case, an best antifungal cream for ringworm can be applied to the infection to treat it. If the animal’s condition will not improve, instead continue to deteriorate, you need to bring your pet to a local veterinarian. He will diagnose your pet’s condition and provide the appropriate medication.
Keeping Your Pet Reptile Safe From Fungal Infection
Fungal infection, like other forms of infections, is contagious. Hence, it is a must that you keep your reptile pet safe from fungal infection. You do not only need to create the right habitat and provide the right diet for your pet. You also need to make sure that everything within his enclosure is kept clean and properly disinfected. These will ensure that your pet won’t catch any harmful microorganisms present within the environment. These will also make sure that his health is properly looked after.
Here are some other tips you may consider to keep your reptile from not fungal infection:
1. Ensure that your pet is provided with the right temperature and humidity throughout the day. This will ensure that their body can regulate the right level of heat that they need to do their daily normal activities. Different reptiles may require varying levels of temperature and humidity to maintain their health.
2. Provide them the right diet. This will ensure that they will consume the right essential nutrients they need to stay healthy and free from any diseases. Remember that if they get infected by any contagious diseases, you and family’s risk may also be at risk. This will also mean that his immune system will be kept strong and that his body’s natural defense against destructive microorganisms can fully function.
3. Keep their enclosure regularly cleaned and disinfected. Proper disposal of organic waste and any food left after each meal is vital to ensure that your pet won’t catch any harmful microorganisms. A thorough cleaning should include the substrate, beddings, the food and water dishes, any decorations inside the enclosures, as well as the pet itself.
4. Regularly disinfect your pet’s enclosure and all other things within his habitat. Cleaning with soap and water is not enough to remove disease-causing agents. You will also need to disinfect the animal’s enclosure as well as all the tools used in managing and handling the animal.
5. Keep your hands and your clothing clean when handling your pet. This will also ensure that your pet will not catch any virus, fungi, bacteria, and other disease-causing agents from outside his habitat.
6. Have a regular consultation with your local veterinarian. Your vet knows what is best for your pet. Allowing the vet to check your pet regularly will ensure that any signs or symptoms related to any health condition that you might not have detected will be treated promptly.
7. If you see any unusual change in your pet’s behavior, consult a vet right away. It might not still be time to see the vet, but if your pet is manifesting some strange behavior you need to let a vet know immediately.